December 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Auntie!

A Happy Birthday to Catholic blogdom's favorite Aunt-Adrienne. Stop over and wish her a happy day!

The Take This Job and Shove It Award!

The first annual, or ever,"Take This Job and Shove It Award!" goes to Mr. Steven Slater. (Friends, you KNOW you have crossed to a new level of social media fame when you have a Wikipedia entry!)

This award is to signify my envy to those who I'm most jealous of and admire in their manner of leaving their current employment in the year.

Highlighting this incident probably illustrates some of the worst aspects of my character,but God help me, I still think this episode is funny! On the radio yesterday on my way into work I picked up a station that was reenacting the situation complete with bleeps, sounds of a fridge opening, the slide pulled and the body hitting it and sliding down it. I laughed so hard I almost drove off the road!

I finally know the answer to my question: "What beer did he grab?" Answer: Blue Moon (good choice)

This reminds me of the story of a local blogger who when he left one of his last jobs at a religious bookstore got on the intercom and stated "May you all go straight to Hell!", replaced the dippy daffy CD that was playing with Metallica's "Master of Puppets", grabbed two bottles of imported Holy Water and walked out the front door with his head held high.

I am still happy to know that, even in this day of horrific unemployment, there walk among us those who draw a line at compromising their standards and personal integrity for a paycheck.

This has been a Terry and Cathy joint!

December 25, 2010

The Nativity of Our Lord

The twenty-fifth day of December.

In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;

the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;

the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;

the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king;

in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;

the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;

the whole world being at peace,

in the sixth age of the world,

Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception, was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh.

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

If this proclamation doesn't give you chills, check your head and your heart.

December 24, 2010

Krampus Gonna Get Ya If Ya Ain't Good!

For Swissy! Happy birthday, my friend.

December 23, 2010

Sinful and Sorrowful

Gentle Reader: No, you are not imagining things-I took the post down. My family is not that bad. I inflated an incident out of proportion. My family struggles with substance abuse, yes, but they have good hearts and they'd probably give me their last $ if I asked for it. The Lord has blessed me with many who love me. I'm ashamed of myself for seeking a sympathy I don't deserve by making things worse than they really are.

May The Light born unto us on Christmas Day illuminate and overcome the darkness in our hearts.

December 21, 2010

You Are All Bastard Children!

We are a Nation of bastard children. Bastard-not a nice word, no one uses it anymore. Bastardy died to the English language along with illegitimate and marriage. It’s not politically correct to point out to someone that it’s morally wrong that they have kids out of wedlock or by multiple partners .

It’s correct these days to remain silent and not pass “judgement” on others. Illegitimacy is, truly, a private matter.

I don’t know. It’s wrong but I hate to go back to the days of illegitimate kids treated like trash and who wants to see the abortion rate increase? But, somewhere along the line charity and kindness became confused with morality. Nowadays, people think nothing of bothering to be married to have children, children have multiple ½ siblings, holidays are a confused mess. Now it’s not “Who’s your Daddy?” so much as “Who’s my Family?”

The local paper has a column called “Holiday Wishes” every year where they pick certain families or individuals in need and tell their stories. They are heart-wrenching. I can’t help but notice though how many of the families are single parent households with kids from multiple partners or households with kids where the parents are not married and have no plans to do so. Call me old-fashioned but how is any of this good for kids? There are, obviously, no guarantees that a married parent household is going to be perfect but, at least, they provide some measure of stability and security. I used to hear people who were single parents acknowledge their wish to have a married partner and raise kids together; now, I rarely hear that.

The small town my Dad lives in had a weekly newspaper that prints birth announcements. There’s always a birth to announce. However, rarely, is the birth to a couple that are married. Povery is rampant in this area so now you have kids growing up in poverty on top of not having anything even remotely resembling a family unit. Often, these children end up being raised by their grandparents.

Just when I think things can’t get weirder, I was reading a column over the weekend that described a Broadway play opening. In the story were references to who was there: “Cynthia Nixon and her WIFE, Tony Kushner and his HUSBAND” Huh? Matter of fact, no big deal, whatever.

God knew what he was doing when he created the family. Is family always perfect: no. But, it can work.Like all things worth having it takes work; it takes commitment. Maybe that’s why we fail.

December 19, 2010

Santa Before Christ

I was driving around the other day and passed one of those large outdoor Nativity scenes in someone's front yard. The homeowners added a kneeling Santa Claus to the scene.

Some people get really angry and upset when they see Santa Claus added to Nativity scenes. I don't. Whether the representation is the commercialized Santa Claus, or his true self, St. Nicholas, makes no difference to me. It makes perfect sense to me that Santa would kneel before The Christ Child. Whether it's the rampant commercialism of the Advent shopping season represented by Santa or the devout Faith of St. Nicholas-all must bow down before The True Meaning of Christmas.

The True Meaning of Christmas is, after all, nothing but a child. So simple, but so much more than that.

I said "all must bow down before The True Meaning of Christmas". Here, perhaps, we have another "pro multis" argument? Christ was born to all, but not all will care or seek understanding. When some of us say "Santa before Christ" we mean it-not in a good way.

I used to crash the day after Christmas Day with a thud like coming down off of cocaine. All that shopping and chaos between Black Friday and Christmas Eve-all that activity that seemed to suggest a life full of purpose and meaning-ultimately, as empty as the opened boxes in the trash on the Feast of St. Stephen.

I finally realized, after over 35 years of recovery, that Christmas Day is not the end-it's the beginning. Really, with The Christ Child there is no end-only endless possibilities. Even, Good Friday was not the end.

Living in the liturgical year, as opposed to the secular holiday and shopping year, has given me more reasons for living-it's given me, it always gives me, something to look forward to.

The Christmas Octave (the 12 days after Christmas Day) give us some of the greatest and most meaningful Feasts in the Calendar-do your self a favor and don't overlook them.

Speaking of calendars, please note that because Christmas Day is on a Saturday that does NOT mean you get to skip Mass on Sunday. Plan ahead, you will be at Mass for two days of the next two weekends. New Year's Day is the Solemenity of Mary, Mother of God-a Holy Day of Obligation-so on New Year's weekend you'll be at Mass on Saturday and Sunday as well. But you knew that, right?

For this coming week, rather than make yourself crazy trying to get all that last minute shopping done, why don't you make yourself crazy trying to get in to to see a priest to receive the Sacrament of Confession before Christmas? What better gift to your self?

God bless us every one.

December 14, 2010

For Terry-Advent Vigil

Remember last year? Sodak keeping vigil at the creche waiting for Terry to tell his annual story about the Nativity and how the animals experienced it. Well, here's Sodak again! However, Sodak understands if Terry doesn't feel like telling the story this year without Celine. But, Sodak is still doing his vigil anyway.

It continues to astound me how both of my cats never touch or disturb the creche.Kaylen does not sit near it but Sodak, frequently, does.

No one probably cares about this post except the cat lovers!

December 12, 2010

Storm Photos

For LarryD and Nan-who is, I think, still plowed!

The Magisterium of the Blizzard; that is, Adoro, Terry and Dave Dahl, issued a bull and decreed that the snow we just received in Twin Cities, Minnesota, was not a blizzard but was, in fact, a pretty big dump of frozen precipitation!

Here are some photos for the sceptics-these are the folks who followed St. Thomas the Apostle for a time.

The front of my house-photo taken this morning. I should've taken a photo yesterday evening before I cleared the driveway as that drift between the piano window and the dining room windows was up to the soffits. Overnight, most of it blew off. But, almost all of this snow was received from Friday night thru Saturday. You can see, if I was so inclined, I will not be closing my driveway gate any time soon!

A view of my back yard from the basement walkout door. My fence in the back is 6'6". It's not too deep at the fence-most of it drifted against the house.

Another view of the back of my house and the walkout door where I took the previous shot. The black thing to the left is my central air conditioner cover. The central air unit is about 3 feet off the ground-slab and unit-and it's nearly covered from drifting. Twice, I could barely get out that back door yesterday as the snow was pretty high against it.

View looking north. There is a white car stuck in the middle of the street and a car parked just to the left of it. It's still there. Whoever was stuck there walked away and left it. The plows have been thru overnight and cleared the "night plow side". In the central cities; Minneapolis and St. Paul proper, with some major street exceptions, they only do one side at a time. They still had the other 1/2 to do at the time of the photo. The right side of the shot is the unplowed side.

View to the south. I had to clear all that packed in hard snow from the plow before I could back out and go to Mass this morning. I give thanks to God that I have a snowblower!

St. Paul has declared a second snow emergency starting tonight and it's COLD! Below zero next several days.

December 11, 2010

And It Snowed and It Snowed....

Major blizzard here, yes, blizzard. It's falling so fast in St. Paul, I could hardly keep up with it using my snowblower this morning. It took me 1.5 hours to do my driveway and sidewalk and I don't have a big lot. It's still falling-fast. I'm caved in and shopped with everyone else in town last night. Oh!

It's piled high and deep around here and that's even without Terry stopping by!

I'm wondering if I'll be skiing to Mass tomorrow. If I do, I'll have Father take a photo!

Anyway, I completely forgot to give a shameless shoutout to my latest post over at Our Word! I probably didn't need to bother as I'm sure most of you read Our Word and Welcome to It! already. If you don't, you should.

December 06, 2010

Christmas Card Photo Shoot

LarryD expressing his joy at finally finding a photographer willing to shoot his annual nude Christmas card. Larry is, however, struggling with what to write for the Christmas letter insert.

December 05, 2010

You Are Such a Good Catholic!

You're a Good One, Cathy of Alex..(sung to tune of "You're a Queer One, Julie Jordan") Proof yet again that Tim Ferguson I am not!

Some of you know that a cousin of mine has been very critically ill. About 5 days ago the unhappy phone calls were making the rounds among the family-the "brace yourself" calls. Basically, it was so dire that no one expected him to live much longer than 24 hours. He is still having tests and is still in the ICU. However, he is going to live-that alone is a miracle. It's that bad. He has a LONG and HARD road ahead and is never ever going to be 100% the way he was before the illness.

However, I am totally and 100% convinced that prayer saved him. I used the power of social networking and had just about everyone I know and barely know praying for him. Of course, no social network can beat the power of 1-1 with the Lord via His Mother and I took full advantage of the power of the Rosary. Thank you to everyone who prayed for him. I continue to be overwhelmed that total strangers will take a few moments out of their day to talk to God on behalf of another person. This is the power of Christian witness.

I was on the phone with one of his sisters on Thursday, after we knew the worst had passed, and after I told her I had recruited untold numbers of people to pray for him and had been praying hard myself she said "You are such a good Catholic!" in her ironic and humorous voice. She meant it but he she didn't mean it. Really, she has no idea what she's talking about. She is a nominal Lutheran/Southern Baptist. She was raised Lutheran by a Mom who left the Catholic church in a rage because she had a disagreement with a priest. She married a Southern Baptist and they, sort of, attend meetin'. In other words, she goes to church when she feels like it but that doesn't stop her from very much proclaiming that "she has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ". In my snarkier moments, I've commented back "How can you have a relationship with someone you barely see?" But, like many christians today, faith is not supposed to be something you work at continually or something you live daily and constantly. Faith is not supposed to inconvenience you in any way. I always get this heartbreaking image of Jesus waiting around alone for the people who never come. It's like if Jesus at the Last Supper was all alone because the Apostles and Disciples decided they'd rather be somewhere else and He broke His Body and offered His Blood for an audience of no one.

But, isn't that really how it is? This week, after 6 years, my parish closed Adoration. For 5 years, every Tuesday, I've given one hour to watching with Christ. But, not everyone "gets it"-so much so that they've had trouble filling hours and with our parish status uncertain a decision was made. I'm not happy about it. Adoration was one the things that drew me to the parish when I was seeking and now it's gone. I think a parish without Adoration is like a rotten tree-looks ok on the outside but no living core. I know I'm going to get into trouble for saying it, but I can't help how I feel about it all. The parish we are merging with has Adoration, Thanks Be to God, and I'll probably move there but I'm still upset.

I should just throw up my hands and chalk it all up to yet another example of people who went on feasting as the flood waters approached. Some are never going to be on fire with love for God, some people are always going to be lukewarm. It's horrible. I feel like I'm failing. I have a love and enjoyment for something that I can't even express. How seldom did I even try to explain to people what Adoration meant and means to me and my journey as a Catholic follower of Christ? I bear a measure of responsibility for the closure of the Adoration Chapel. I don't feel like I did enough evangelization.

Which brings me back to my cousin's comment: "You are such a good Catholic" My response to her was "No". I'm really not. But, I know I need to try. Is that better? Some people, including many in my own family, gave up decades ago.

What to do for them? What can be done? Should I even worry? Some days I think "Screw it, I'm going to worry about myself" That is probably the selfish and entirely erroneous response but there it is.

Yet, shame remains becuase I know in my heart of hearts that sometimes I'm lukewarm. If I was really passionate, I may have done something to get more people to spend an hour in Adoration with God each week.

December 04, 2010

Cranky Trifecta

1) Reportedly, the Archdiocese has spent an amount in the high 5 figures on priestly vestments. This is gossip, at this point, as I've seen nothing official. However, I'll tell you that I'm thrilled, if this story is true, as the state of vestments of many priests is nothing short of shabby. If this story is true I'm going to take great pleasure, if it happens, in observing the local priests who wear "whatever street clothes they showed up in and those wacky, groovy stoles" be forced to wear something that, OMG, actually looks priestly and like something someone would wear who wants to convey to the Faithful the seriousness and solmenity of the Sacred Mysteries.

2) The local Native American parish, which has always enjoyed a special status, was listed in the recent documentation released to all parishes on the decisions of the Strategic Task Force to merge many parishes. Actually, having read the official documentation when it was released (not the newspaper's version) it said "status to be determined" which clearly indicates to me that the parish was under some of kind of review. This never was a large parish and quite frankly it's existance is largely due to one priest who is no "spring chicken" and not the most, uh, traditional pastor around. It's possible he's being re-assigned, it's possible he's retiring, it's possible he's decided to wreckovate some more parishes. I don't know, and I trust the Archdiocese to make the right decision. I think Native Americans are fully able to be Catholic every Sunday in any parish. I see this in action whenever I attend Mass on the Reservation-Natives and Whites go to the same church. Amen. But, some folks appear to have only actually read the Task Force recommendations yesterday. These are some of the same people who are happily collecting a paycheck from the Archdiocese, yet seem to be chronically unable to resist griping..which brings me to....

3) The closure of the Archdiocesan Pension Fund for laypeople. Apparently, one of the last large local employer holdouts has finally done what just about every other large employer has done and moved away from traditional pensions to funds (like 401K or Roth IRA) that require a little more investment by the employee and the payout is contingent on how much and how long the employee has contributed. In other words, you may not be guaranteed an annual or montly payout for as long as you live after you retire. Pensions are in major trouble. They are largely underfunded (read: not enough money to pay out as retirees are living longer and the employee pool may be smaller) and the PBGC (the governement bail out fund) has been in serious trouble for at least a decade. Some people want to twist this into some kind of evidence that the Church is not practicing "social justice" and wah, wah, is it social justice to payout what you don't have? Oh, yeah, that's the Democrat version of social justice.

Any similarities in this post to the rantings of a pastor in Bloomington are entirely coincidental. However, I will continue and point out that is it not the greatest evidence of the true social justice of this Archdiocese that certain pastors continue to have jobs and get paychecks from the Archdiocese in spite of continuing to try and undermine it? NO private sector or government company that I know of would continue to put up with this "from the inside" griping and undermining by an employee-if that isn't carrying the dead weight in the erroneous misapplication of "social justice" I don't know what is. I know I just phrased the sacramental priesthood as a job, not a calling, because honestly, that's how these troublemakers see it. Somewhere along the line they forgot that their true job is to bring others to Christ and celebrate His Sacraments for the Faithful.

/end cranky
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